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Full text of "Verdict On India"

118                                    VERDICT OX INDIA

of the world's greatest geniuses, to be spoken of in the same
breath as Milton or Goefche, you will wish to go to Shantiniketan.
If, however, you are of my opinion, and think that he was merely
a charming minor poet, who owed more than be cared to admit to
Yeats, you will probably stay away.

And you will certainly stay away if your main object is to see
modern Indian art. I do not propose to waste any more expletives
on the paintings of Abanindranath and his disciples. It is enough
to say that they tell the old, old story which we have heard ad
nauseam throughout our quest.. .they stare back into the past,
feebly retracing the patterns of Ajanta. Here is the best that can,
be said about them by one of their most generous apologists,
Percy Brown. A.E*A.> Curator of the Victoria Memorial Hall,
Calcutta, in his book Indian Painting*

'They have sought out the old historic painting of the past, the
frescoes of Ajanra and Sigiriya. the religious banners of Tibet,
and the miniatures of the Mughal and Rajput schools, and on
these the new movement has been founded.. .The earnestness of
these artists is undoubtedly a great asset, but whether this is a
sufficiently stable basis on which to build up a national revival
remains to be seen... *
It certainlv does !

vm
This chapter ha^ been so exclusively in the minor key that it
seems to call for a coda on a less depressing note. This can per-
haps best be provided by a quotation from a lecture I recently
delivered on, * India and the Arts" at the inaugural meeting hi
Bombay of the Society for the Propagation of Education and
Culture. Owing to the fact that my fellow speaker was Professor
Hill, President of the Royal Society, the meeting received more
publicity than it might otherwise have done, and the unexpectedly
favourable reaction, to my ideas throughout India indicates that
they may have had some value.
After attempting to define the word 'art' in its widest interpre-
tation^ by suggesting that it was "a method by which man tries t&